Back in the days of children at home, neighbors that exchanged gifts and a busy social calendar around the holidays, cookie baking was a big deal at my house. It was not unusual for me to make 10 or 12 different kinds of cookies and dozens of each kind. These days, the house is quiet around the holidays, neighbors don't "neighbor" the way they did in our old home town and the kids aren't here. My husband would rather eat Little Debbie Oatmeal things (fake-icky) than homemade and I would be in big trouble, eating my way through everything! I still make sugar cookies that my husband likes and a candy that is my daughter's favorite (recipe coming in a later post).
I made these cookies last year and simply linked the recipe. This year, I thought I would actually show you the process. I have made several sugar cookie recipes over the years and we have decided these are our favorite. The recipe makes a huge batch and while this year I actually rolled them out and used cookie cutters, last year I rolled them into balls and slightly flattened them before baking. It is much faster that way. If you have ever had Cheryl's Cookies (mail-order), these taste very similar. They are soft, not overly sweet and have an excellent flavor.
NOTE-One batch of frosting doesn't quite make enough for all the cookies. We don't mind having a few without frosting, so I just make one batch. If you want to frost all the cookies...double the frosting recipe.
6 egg yolks
4 whole eggs
2 cups real butter (soften to room temperature)
2 1/2 cups sugar
7 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter (soften to room temperature)
1-2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth.
I like to put my eggs (the 6 yolks and the 4 whole eggs) into a glass or measuring cup before I start the mixing process. It makes it easy to add them to the butter/sugar mixture. After the butter and sugar are smooth, add in the eggs, one at a time and blend until smooth.
In a separate bowl, place the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly stir (first by hand and then with mixer) the dry ingredients into the sugar/butter/egg mixture. You can see above how yellow the wet ingredients are from all those egg yolks.
You will end up with a large bowl of slightly stiff batter which you should chill for one hour before forming into cookies.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
After an hour, take part of the batter and form into a ball. On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick and cut your shapes with cookie cutters. You can also just take the chilled dough and roll it into tablespoon sized balls at this stage and flatten them before baking. Bake on greased cookie sheets (I lightly ran the butter wrappers over my cookie sheets) for 8-10 minutes. You do not want them to brown around the edges. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before moving to racks to cool completely.
For the frosting; blend softened butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk with a mixer until smooth. You want the frosting to be smooth and spreadable, but still somewhat thick. Add milk very slowly until you get the texture you want. At this point, you can separate the frosting into small bowls if you want to color it a variety of colors. I wanted most of the cookies to be simple since I have to transport them to Florida. I cut most of mine with a biscuit cutter and frosted them with white frosting and added sugar/sprinkles.
I tinted a little bit of the icing blue and cut out a few large snowflake cookies, topped with snowflake sprinkles. They really looked like snowflakes before I frosted them...now, they look a little bit like crabs!
Nothing says Christmas like the smell of cookies baking.